By Associated Press - Thursday, June 26, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina House has passed unanimously a trimmed-down spending bill that contains teacher and state employee raises already included in the chamber’s state budget proposal two weeks ago.

The measure approved Thursday is an attempt by House Republicans and Gov. Pat McCrory to kick-start budget negotiations since the Senate has thrown up obstacles over Medicaid spending. The bill leaves out Medicaid and focuses largely on public schools, particularly with average 5 percent teacher pay raises.

Speaker Thom Tillis took the unusual step of debating the measure, saying it provides certainty for teachers and removes worry among teacher assistants about losing their jobs. Democratic leader Larry Hall voted for the bill but called it a budget Band-Aid.

The measure now heads to the Senate, which has panned the “mini-budget” idea.

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